Tuesday, March 6, 2012
The Curse (1987)
Talk about sleeper hits, wow! I never knew this movie even existed until saturday evening when a friend of mine found it and boy oh boy am I glad he did. I was pretty skeptical at first considering the fact that Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation for those of you living under a god damn rock- in fact this movie was released mere weeks before TNG premiered on TV!) received top billing followed by once big time character actor Claude Akins. I can honestly say the billing order was justified after viewing the finished product. I can also prattle on about that forever though, so time for the main course.
I know that's probably one of the shortest trailers ever (I'm fairly sure part of the intro is missing if you ask me), but what can you do? Plot synopsis: Zack (Wil Wheaton) is living out on a farm and trying hard to adjust to his stepfather Nathan (Claude Akins) but is hating every minute of his beatings and religious bigotry. One night a mysterious meteor crashes on their land only to completely melt away shortly afterwards, seeping into the water supply and unleashing deadly parasites everywhere. Can Zack stop the madness before it's too late?
This movie is based on H.P. Lovecraft's short story The Colour Out Of Space, and from what I understand the film follows the source material pretty closely too (it remains unfortunately one of a handful of Lovecraft stories I have not read yet, sorry folks). It's pretty easy to totally screw up a Lovecraft based movie, but thankfully this one works (at least I seem to think so anyway). Granted it has a four point something rating on imdb, but I was really honestly entertained here. This movie is regularly branded as mediocre by lots of folks and I'm not really sure what their problem is. I feel like the people who brand this movie like that are really missing the point.
What is the point you ask? Simple: entertainment. My girlfriend and I watched it and weren't bored for a single instant. I thought it was well paced and contains heaps of atmosphere (which as avid readers know is something I really love in a horror flick) and is pretty damn creepy in some bits too. Having such and odd cast helps too, especially since Wil Wheaton actually does a pretty good job as a frustrated and cussing teen who can't wait to tell his step dad to go fuck himself. Having only really known him from Stand By Me, TNG, and some sporadic voiceover work through the years, it was really nice to see him doing some acting outside of a cartoon or television series and I really feel like he pulled his weight here plain and simple.
Claude Akins is a real bastard in this movie. I find him an odd yet fitting choice for the stepdad role as I don't recall seeing him in too many other horror movies and the fact that he was about 60 when he made this, making him a bit too old for the character in my opinion. Either way he really puts his well honed character actor skills to good use and despite my misgivings about it really comes across really well. Another odd casting choice is John Schneider who you will no doubt recognize due to his role as Bo Duke in the series The Dukes Of Hazard. Odd of a choice as he might be I think he goes the distance along with the rest in a worthy fashion.
Perhaps the oddest credit here belongs to first time Director David Keith. You might recognize him from all over the damn place as an actor, as he has been in every movie you probably haven't seen. It's always a mixed bag when an actor decides to direct a movie rather than act in one and this is one of the few times where I think things worked out. As this was his first feature as director, the film has some obvious production woes that people really like to rag on. Yes, there's some sloppy editing and etcetera but blah de fucking blah, a good horror movie is a good horror movie plain and simple. If you like movies based on Lovecraft stories, or weirdly cast horror movies, then this one is for you.